Tuesday News: Mon Capitaine

JEFF JACKSON TO ANNOUNCE RUN FOR 2022 U.S. SENATE RACE: North Carolina state Sen. Jeff Jackson is expected to announce today that he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2022, the latest candidate to enter what could be a large field to replace outgoing Sen. Richard Burr. Jackson, a 38-year-old Democrat from Charlotte, is in his fourth term in the state Senate. A former Gaston County prosecutor, Jackson is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and an Afghanistan war veteran. Burr, a Republican, announced during his 2016 campaign that he would not seek a fourth term in the Senate. Jackson, whose state Senate district was redrawn into a more competitive seat for 2020, spent the final weeks of his race at out-of-state training with the Army National Guard and off the campaign trail. Marisa took over the campaign for the final week.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article2...

NEW VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PLAN RESULTS IN THOUSANDS OF CANCELED APPOINTMENTS: State officials acknowledged the frustrations and said they're trying to speed up the process, but supply remains limited. Cohen and other top officials in the state's vaccine effort spent about an hour on Monday's conference call, laying out the new plan, asking for feedback and promising better communication. Kody Kinsley, a deputy secretary at DHHS focused on COVID-19 response, said local providers could expect basics tomorrow on how much vaccine to expect over the next three weeks. Cohen said the state will take 84,000 doses from the state's expected weekly allotments and divide it among the counties by population, then divide that amongst providers in each county. "That means not every provider is going to be able to get vaccine," she said. "The numbers don’t work for everyone." The remaining 36,000 doses the state gets each week will be used to "plus up" organizations that can help reach marginalized communities, including rural and minority communities that are typically under-served, Cohen said.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/nc-apologizes-promises-change-after-hospitals-counties-balk-at-vacc...

DUKE ENERGY RATEPAYERS GET $1.1 BILLION REDUCTION IN COAL ASH CLEANUP COSTS: Duke Energy, North Carolina officials and a conservation group announced Monday an agreement on how the utility pays to get rid of coal ash stored in the state. The proposed settlement would shift an estimated $1.1 billion in expenses away from customers over the next decade to the nation's largest electric utility and its shareholders. The agreement was announced a month after the state Supreme Court ruled regulators should revisit an order that would have placed nearly all of the expense upon Duke's 3.4 million electric customers in the state. Under the settlement, which still must be approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, the amounts covered by those customers would be reduced from roughly $4 billion through 2030 to $3 billion, Duke Energy spokeswoman Meredith Archie said. Coal ash costs baked into pending customer rate proposals by Duke Energy will be reduced by 60% if the settlement is finalized, which would diminish any proposed increase. In an email, Archie said Duke Energy was still calculating how the rate alterations would translate into average customer savings. The agreement covers cleanup costs from 2015 through 2030 and applies to two previous efforts by Duke Energy to seek rate increases from the Utilities Commission and future requests, according to Stein's office. The settlement would force Duke Energy to write off $755 million in cleanup expenses and seek a lower rate of return — something similar to profit — as it relates to incurring these costs.
https://www.wral.com/duke-energy-nc-officials-announce-coal-ash-expense-deal/19490624/

2 DEM SENATORS BALK AT GETTING RID OF FILIBUSTER: McConnell on Monday said he was prepared to move forward on a deal “modeled on that [2001] precedent” after two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) — publicly reiterated their previously stated opposition to eliminating the filibuster. “They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation,” he said. Biden said in July that he’d “take a look” at eliminating the filibuster if Republicans became overly “obstreperous” but has otherwise been respectful of the traditions of the Senate, where he spent six terms before becoming vice president in 2009. Manchin told reporters Monday that killing the filibuster would run against Biden’s goal of uniting the country: “We’ve got to come together, so I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It’s not who I am.” A spokeswoman for Sinema said Monday that she is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.” Without the deal in place, Senate committees remained frozen from the previous Congress, where Republicans held a majority. That has created the unusual circumstance where Democrats have control of the floor while GOP chairs remain in charge of most committees.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/mcconnell-relents-on-senate-rules-signals-power-sharing-dea...

PRESIDENT BIDEN'S CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA IS SHAPING UP: President Biden on Wednesday will direct federal agencies to determine how expansive a ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land should be, part of a suite of executive orders that will effectively launch his agenda to combat climate change, two people with knowledge of the president’s plans said Monday. An eventual ban on new drilling leases would fulfill a campaign promise that infuriated the oil industry and became a central theme in the fight for the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania, where the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become big business. The move is the most prominent of several that Mr. Biden will announce Wednesday, the two people said. The president also will direct the government to conserve 30 percent of all federal land and water by 2030, create a task force to assemble a governmentwide action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, issue a memorandum elevating climate change to a national security priority. Mr. Biden will also create several new commissions and positions within the government focused on environmental justice and environmentally friendly job creation, including one to help displaced coal communities. The expected clampdown on new oil and gas leases goes further than Mr. Biden’s actions on Inauguration Day, which halted the Interior Department and other agencies’ authority to issue drilling leases or permits for 60 days while the administration reviewed the legal and policy implications of the current federal minerals leasing program. Fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters accounts for almost a quarter of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, and Mr. Biden campaigned on ending new drilling as a key to tackling climate change.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/25/climate/biden-climate-change.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stori...

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